White House Breach: Checkpoints Coming soon

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The Secret Service is considering setting up security checkpoints in public areas around the White House after an intruder made it to a building entrance last week.

Under the plan being considered, tourists might be screened at checkpoints blocks away from the White House, according to the New York Times.

On Friday the intruder, Omar J Gonzalez, climbed the fence, ran across the lawn and entered the building before agents stopped him. Gonzalez, who was holding a knife, was arrested and is expected in federal court.   

He faces charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Less than 24 hours after Gonzalez’s arrest, a second man, 19-year-old Kevin Carr, was taken into custody after he drove up to a White House gate and refused to leave.

The incident prompted bomb technicians in full gear to search the vehicle as agents briefly shut down nearby streets.

It has emerged that Gonzalez, a 42-year-old from Texas, is a decorated Army veteran and marksman who served in Iraq.

The Army said Gonzalez enlisted in July 1997 and remained until completing his service obligation in September 2003.

He re-enlisted in July 2005 and served until his retirement in late 2012, serving in Iraq from October 2006 to January 2008.

According to his relatives, he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and needs treatment.  

Jerry Murphy, whose mother was married to Gonzalez for several years, said Gonzalez has been driving around the country and living out of his truck for the past couple of years.

Mr Murphy told the AP news agency that Gonzalez always carries his knife but also has other weapons.

“I know he’s got heavy artillery, you know?” Mr Murphy added.

“He’s got all kinds of weapons and he was trained to use them. I believe if he wanted to make a scene or cause problems, he very well could have.

“But it’s clear that he didn’t.”

President Barack Obama, his wife and daughters were away at the time of the break-in, but the West Wing was evacuated.

The incident was a major embarrassment for the Secret Service, and security has already been tightened outside the White House as a result.

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